Posts Tagged ‘martial art’

Bi Polar Reviews: Ninja Assassin

January 26, 2010

sad

Long overdue and suffering from the recession (damn you Cyclops). I present the revitalised Bi-Polar Reviews for 2010. I say revitalised, basically part one and two will be posted together. I’ve had thousands of emails asking how to use that elusive left click. Pingbacks are our bread and butter after all. So I thought i’d save you the trouble and put one and two in a post.

If you missed how this works. Part One good, Part Two bad. Its early years as the Manic Depressive reviews didn’t catch on for some reason.

This week we have Ninja Assassin. Here is Part One.

assassin

Ninja Assassin is the latest offering from James McTeigue. You know, the man who directed V for Vendetta. Still nothing? I only say this because in the advertising spots he has become the creator of The Matrix trilogy. They said that for V for Vendetta and they are pitching it again with Ninja Assassin. Marketing this as a film by the creators of the Matrix trilogy implies the Wachowski’s are in control of said project. Quick question, what is more appealing:

The man who directed V for Vendetta?
Or
The duo who directed the Matrix and inexorably fudged the next two?

archi

Ergo, they sucked. So why taint a promising sequence director with a good eye for the fantabulous?

So, plot…we’ll get to that in the second half. Let focus on where Ninja Assassin excels, those fight sequences. If you were going to be honest with yourself, you didn’t pay to see a film titled Ninja Assassin for its eloquence. A blade in the gizzards, put simply, says more than words ever could.

slice

Put a knife on a chain in any movie and I think you’ll find an audience. Add some throwing stars into the mix and you got yourself Citizen Kane minus a sledge. This is an unashamed B movie, looking at it from any other angle will leave you squirming for its 99 minutes. Watching the film with this in mind and I promise, you will have an enjoyable time. Killing is this films business, and business is certainly thriving. If you think of blood as its plot, this is the War and Peace we have been waiting for. All in all, you should have a bloody good time (sorry).

Ninja Gaiden The Movie, the film you have all been waiting for.

“Looks like another empty room”
Bam, ninja!

bam

Part Two

So there’s these assassinations occurring but nobody knows whose doing it. This one Interpol agent gets the idea that it might be ninja’s. But nobody believes her because there’s no such thing as ninja’s. Except there is such a thing as ninja’s and now the ninja’s want to kill her. So she teams up with the good ninja, played by Korean pop sensation Rain, who helps her seek revenge on the evil ninja’s, who happen to be his former clan. There’s some pretty nifty fight scenes along the way, and that wispy CGI that makes everything appear slightly supernatural. It also has its fair share of ninja blood. Ultimately, whether or not you will like it will largely depend on how fond of ninja’s you are to begin with.

The End

raizo

Erm.

Oh. Did you ever notice how ninja’s get less powerful the more of them you put together? One ninja is usually this unstoppable force, their always the baddest ass in the room, secret weapon, secret style, secret hat. But put more than three of them in a room together and they suddenly get performance anxiety. Rule of thumb, if a movie has an army of ninjas, then you can be pretty sure our protagonist is going to breeze through them like [insert loathed chubby] and a hammock of profiteroles. Now since there is not a ninja cliché that Ninja Assassin doesn’t indulge in, you can bet that this one made it into the final edit.

ninja

On the one hand part of me loves seeing cheesy martial arts clichés like this still kicking around. On the other hand they lose a lot of their charm when the authenticity is completely removed. When Bruce or Jackie flicked, twisted, kicked and screamed we had a static camera and the proof of physical exertion. Ninja Assassin simply looks too expensive for its own good. Believe me when I say I am not trying to sound like a Chinese proverb, but most of the films strengths are also its biggest weaknesses. From the cool, stoic delivery of our protagonist Raizo, to the legend that is Sho Kosugi and his earnest recital of every ninja villain stock line in the book. Both are acceptable traits within this genre, but could quite easily grunt throughout the movie and provide more weight to their roles.

sho

Speaking of stock lines, let’s see how many pretentious critical clichés I can fit into one paragraph. Story formulaic, the dialogue wooden, almost Ikea (slot ninja B into ninja B), acting woeful, even for a movie with the word ninja in the title. I would say that the film appeared to work on several levels without actually addressing six of them. Some have suggested 36, but The Abbott has been slipping recently so we forgive him for that last effort.

rza

Dré

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